Even lawyers who have been the most ardent print advocates have loosened their grip on their favorite treatises and deskbooks. The pandemic-enforced remote work environment drove most print holdouts to online resources. In 2023 many law firm libraries are completely digital while others have shifted significant amounts of their budgets from print to digital.
Although the large enterprise platforms such as Lexis, Westlaw and Bloomberg Law represent a significant portion of most budgets, library directors and knowledge managers also manage dozens and sometimes hundreds of other digital licenses. There has been a proliferation of specialty products targeting specific practice areas or workflows from topics as diverse as credit default swaps, social media monitoring, and predictive litigation analytics. The acquisition and management of these specialty products involves a different kind of licensing analysis, even though many issues may be similar to the large platform licensing issues.
If you are new to the world of digital resource licensing, this checklist will highlight some of the key issues to address when reviewing a license. The first thing you need to understand is that most license agreements are one-sided in favor of the vendor. All the liabilities and risks are on the purchaser. That is why it is so important for you to understand the risks and opportunities associated with digital licensing.
The ground rules. If you are new to your organization, there are several issues that should be addressed in advance. Identify the standard practices and procedures in your firm for procurement, contract review, and security review.
Work with your procurement team. If your firm has a procurement team, you should still be involved in the licensing process. The procurement team needs to understand how the product will be used and who will need to have access. If there is no procurement team, there may be a designated contract attorney who reviews the contracts for the law firm. Develop a collaborative relationship with those professionals. They can be important allies in the process.
Security. Determine if your firm has a specific security review process for vendors. Security compliance can be a complete deal killer. Many firms now require vendors to answer security compliance questionnaires and to disclose their security standards in advance of any trial or contract. Security issues should be addressed in advance of the licensing process. Confirm that the vendor is willing to provide security documentation.
Common Licensing Issues. Below are a sampling of licensing issues that should be considered for all types of digital licenses but are particularly important when assessing a niche product with a limited license. Read the full post at LegalTech HubContinue Reading Checklist for the Negotiation of Digital Subscriptions – Budget Control and Risk Management Strategies